One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quick & Easy Vegan Celebrations Cookbook Giveaway!

It seems like only yesterday I was announcing the release of my first cookbook Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food to you guys, beaming with pride like a new mom. I want to thank all of you who have purchased Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food and for all your amazing tweets, facebook messages and emails, it's because of all of you that I was given the amazing opportunity to write my second cookbook Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations which is now officially available in stores coast to coast and online.

Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations is an indispensable cookbook for vegans and for anyone with vegan or vegetarian friends. Whatever the occasion, celebrants can learn to serve delicious, traditional holiday fare without using milk, eggs, or meat. Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations updates classic holiday recipes to be vegan-friendly and as delicious as ever. Readers find everything needed for New Year's Eve, Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Mardi Gras and birthdays. Author Alicia C. Simpson takes the guesswork out of menu planning with over 150 festive new recipes—so all readers have to do is have fun cooking, partying . . . and eating!

You can find photos of the recipes from the book on my new website as well as a Soy Free and Gluten Free Guide to both Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations and Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food and sample recipes from both books as well.

And now the moment you've all been waiting for. THE GIVEAWAY! One lucky person will win a free signed copy of Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations. It's super easy to enter. Just leave a comment below with your email address and tell me what your favorite holiday or celebration of the year is. The giveaway contest starts October 21st and the winner will be announced on the first day of VeganMofo (the Vegan Month of Food) Monday, November 1st. GOOD LUCK!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cookbook Review: Ani’s Raw Food Essentials

Although it is now officially fall and summer is in our rear-view, with the 80 degree days persisting in Georgia I still find myself going back to my collection of raw food cookbook’s for inspiration. Surprisingly, many of them like Ani’s Raw Food Essentials by Ani Phyo offer unique and creative ways to use fall’s gourds to make filling and appetizing meals. 

From the start I was impressed by the size of Ani’s Raw Food Eseentials. With over 300 recipes I hardly knew where to start. So, of course, when you don’t know where to start you should start at the beginning. There I found that Ani offers several real-world practical solutions for the budding raw foodist or individual trying to add more raw foods to their diet. Ani also gave me exactly what I’d been looking for – a way to convert a typical oven or convection oven into a dehydrator. Although I tried her methods, they did waste a lot of energy (as she said they would) so I guess I’ll have to continue putting away $1 a day until I can afford a dehydrator of my own.

Although I loved the majority of the recipes in Ani’s Raw Food Essentials one flaw that I have found over and over again in Ani’s food is that she uses a ridiculously huge amount of salt. I was excited to try her eggplant bacon (mostly because it was my first chance to try her alternative methods of dehydrating). After waiting hours to dehydrate the bacon down I pulled my first strip of eggplant bacon out the convection oven, took one bite and immediately had to spit it out and rinse my mouth out. It was basically a salt lick. I think my blood pressure went up 10 points from that bite alone. Keeping this in mind I cut the salt down by ¾ in all of her dishes and found that it made them much more palatable. 

Although this book has a fair amount of recipes in it that do not require a dehydrator many of them are just components to dishes that do require a dehydrator so if you have not yet invested in one this isn’t the book for you yet. If you do happen to have a dehydrator lying around the attic then haul that sucker down the stairs and start whipping up some raw tacos, burgers, pizzas, and crackers immediately from this book! Considering that this book is has 300 recipes it was hard to pick just 5 recommended recipes but then again when I find a good book it is always hard to decide which 5 recipes I just can’t live without. Without further ado, here are my top 5 recipes from Ani’s Raw Food Essentials (in no particular order):

Ginger Lemon Martini (because what’s raw food without a little spirits)
Mango Gazpacho
Chinese Chickenless Salad
Taco Salad
Make with marinated spinach and “peanut” sauce

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tofurky Italian Sausage Fire-Roasted Veggie Pizza

I’ve been hearing the buzz about Tofurky’s new line of frozen pizzas made with Daiya cheese for about a month now so on my last trip to Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe I had to give it a try. After all, there was only one pizza left in the freezer so I considered it fate that our paths crossed. I consider myself quite the vegan pizza connoisseur. Not only do I enjoy making homemade pizza from scratch (minus all traces of vegan cheese, just sauce and toppings) but I have my choice of 4 local pizza parlors that serve up vegan pizza with all sorts of wonderful toppings not just your usual veggies but Italian sausage, pepperoni, the works! Even though I have all these options available to me I handed over my $10 to get a taste of this new pizza pie.

I have to be honest, I thought the pizza was good but not the best pizza I’ve ever had. But then again, I can say that for nearly every frozen pizza I had in my omni days as well. I don’t think frozen pizza is meant to rival fresh baked pizza right out the oven or your local pizzeria, just fulfill a need in a timely manner and Tofurky’s Italian Sausage and Fire-Roasted Veggie Pizza did this. In just 10 minutes I had a nice crisp pizza right out the oven and ready to enjoy. However, I don’t think I’ll be buying this pizza again and there are several reasons why. First being the cost. One pizza was nearly $10 and not much bigger than a personal size pizza. I can get a slice of Veggie Deluxe Pizza at Village Pizza Co. for about $4.50 that is just about as big as this pizza. Secondly, as I’ve already hinted to, the size, since I’m a single gal it was no biggie that the pizza was so small but for $10 I need to be able to feed myself and at least one other person and even with a salad and some homemade garlic bread it would be tough to fill two people up on this pizza, unless you had one really big salad or you’re just not that hungry. Third, and this is no fault of Tofurky, I have plenty of vegan options for pizza right here in Atlanta and even without these great options I would be happy to order a Papa John’s Pizza sans the cheese, loaded with veggies and delivered to my home piping hot for under $10. I guess you can see one theme showing up again and again in all my reasons. It’s the cost. I just can’t see spending $10 on a frozen pizza and frankly for $10 and such a small size I need to get the best pizza I ever ate, frozen or not, and this just wasn’t it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cookbook Review: Vegan Baking Classics by Kelly Rudnicki

When one thinks of Vegan Baking Classics, the thought of rich fudgy brownies, and classic cakes, pies and cupcakes  is what first comes to mind. The cover of the new book by Kelly Rudnicki Vegan Baking Classics invokes this with it’s cover photo of chocolate chip filled brownies and it’s subtitle “Delicious, easy-to-make traditional favorites”. However, as I began to thumb through the book I saw a lot of recipes that wouldn’t really be considered classics in my home and I was immediately underwhelmed by the size of the book. Unfortunately for Rudnicki, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau wrote The Joy of Vegan Baking first and this widely popular book is the benchmark that all vegan baking books will have to live up to. For me, if a cookbook’s idea isn’t unique then at least the recipes should display some new techniques and flavor combination's. In essence, give the reader something they have never seen before but that is still approachable and tasty. Unfortunately Vegan Baking Classics didn’t do this for me. In fact, a lot of the recipes in Vegan Baking Classics were already in The Joy of Vegan Baking. It would have probably served the author better to thumb through The Joy of Vegan Baking first to see what was missing and then try to fill that need. 

I say all this to say that the book isn’t, in and of itself, a bad book with bad recipes. The recipes I tried out the book were actually pretty good, the molasses cookies being my favorite. But if you want a more comprehensive book of the basic how to’s of vegan baking and a larger breadth of recipes then this might not be the book for you. I don’t have a top 5 recipes for this book but I can say that the molasses cookies were fantastic and so were the Soy Nut Butter Cookies, they are a great alternative to peanut butter cookies for those with peanut allergies.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...